As the latest demographic to join the global workforce, many in Gen Z are securing their professional entry-level job roles and signing their first major employee contracts. For some, it might be a rude awakening down the line when they discover what it really means to enter the professional world.
A recent survey conducted by Adobe Acrobat reveals a concerning trend: 67% of Gen Z respondents do not thoroughly read employment contracts, as reported by Fast Company. This is alarming, especially for young professionals just starting their careers.
Without a comprehensive understanding of their contracts, young employees might miss out on essential details about their compensation, benefits, or any conditions for bonuses. This lack of diligence can lead to misunderstandings, unmet expectations, and potential legal disputes.
This has real-world consequences, with 20% admitting to unknowingly agreeing to terms, and 10% losing money due to this oversight. The survey found that even after not reading the fine print had negative repercussions, 61% said they still do not read contracts fully before signing.
However, it’s not just Gen Z that’s skipping the fine print on contracts. The survey found that 24% of Gen Xers and 33% of baby boomers also admit to not reading contracts in their entirety. This widespread trend across generations suggests a broader shift in how individuals approach formal agreements in the age of hybrid work.
Regardless of age demographics, companies could rethink how they present contracts to newly recruited employees, making them more accessible and easier to understand. Simplified language, interactive digital formats, or even summary sections are potential solutions to ensure that employees fully grasp their terms of employment.
Adobe Acrobat revealing that a large portion of Gen Z is not reading their employment contracts is concerning, but it also presents an opportunity to recognize the importance of financial and legal literacy in the modern workplace. As the nature of work evolves, with a rise in freelancing and the gig economy, understanding contractual obligations becomes even more important. Employers and educational institutions could prioritize such literacy, ensuring that the workforce is equipped to navigate the complexities of modern employment.